Stay alert during Arizona monsoons

Date Modified: Fri, 07/07/2017 - 9:59am

A lightning bolt in the sky over the Community Center.The annual monsoon season (June-September) brings much needed rain to the Valley, but also often includes blowing dust, wind and lightning. When those situations arise, the ACC often has to announce emergency closures at the parks and pools. Please be respectful of Parks & Facilities and Community Center staff, including Parks Patrol, if they approach asking you to depart the area or to seek cover. This is for your safety.

Pool safety

In the event of threatening weather, pools at the Community Center close for a minimum of 45 minutes. After that, the conditions are reevaluated and if conditions have improved, the Community Center staff can reopen the pool facilities.

Residents and guests are asked to move inside when pools close due to approaching weather, as safety is the top concern.

“Some storms have tremendous wind, and as quickly as they move through the area, they can cause a significant debris field,” said Kristi Northcutt, director of communications and public affairs. During a fleeting storm last summer, chairs were tossed about and into the pools. Once reopened, the lifeguards had to perform “water rescues” of the chairs and umbrellas before swimmers  could re-enter.

“Since the storms are unpredictable, inside is the safest place to be, even though we understand what an inconvenience it causes to pack up everything,”  Northcutt said.

On the home front

Destructive monsoon storms can break tree limbs, crack branches and even uproot trees in water-saturated  soil. The cost of preventative maintenance is typically far lower than emergency-related work. Evaluate and maintain trees  prior  to  monsoon  season  to  help control or lessen the severity and expense of storm damage:

  • Dense crowns, heavy limbs or off-balance crowns have a higher potential for wind damage, but can be properly pruned to minimize  or avoid damage.
  • Factors such as tree type and location should be evaluated to prioritize maintenance, with trees in busy locations cared for first to ensure safety.
  • When storms strike and trees are damaged, handle the situation safely and correctly. Storm- damaged areas should be secured to prevent injuries  or further property damage.
  • Only trained landscape workers should complete pruning or removal of storm- damaged trees.

Being prepared is the best approach when it comes to monsoon season, whether at home or out-and-about. Download a weather app and set alerts, and don’t be caught off guard.